Like it or not, our employers expect us to be 'available' at all hours, as this article indicates. A junior associate was chastised for not reading his email after-hours and missing an instruction from a senior partner.
This won't be a popular view, but I agree with the senior partner. This is not an attorney-specific issue. When I was in IT, we were on-call 7×24. In fact, in some of the companies I supported, all of our systems were automated, so if a system was down for more than five minutes, it paged us; morning, noon or night (unfortunately, it was usually the middle of the night).
A nurse friend of mine, while observing my activities one evening receiving – and responding to – pages, remarked that my schedule was worse than that of a Doctor!
I place this firmly under the "it's not the old world anymore" department. In my world, there's no such thing as an eight-hour day, and I suspect that doesn't exist in your world, either. Believe me, I understand the work/life balance (after months of rarely sleeping through the night due to multiple outage pages, I considered leaving one job). Like it or not, the world is connected and no matter what time it is, somebody is awake somewhere – and wants to talk to you.
Sure, maybe requiring someone to check e-mail on the hour, every hour is a bit excessive, depending upon the circumstances. But I certainly make it a practice whenever possible to check my e-mail before retiring for the evening.
Maybe the problem was, the junior associate was too busy on Facebook…